What should we do with this answer to the question "Why did people still chant "Lock her up" at Trump rallies in 2019?"?

Timeline so far:

  1. A user flagged it as "rude or offensive"
  2. I agreed with that flag and deleted it, because I think the answer is just a cheap shot at Trump supporters intended to make them look bad.
  3. Another user flagged the deleted answer and asked for it to be undeleted
  4. Another moderator undeleted the answer
  5. Now yet another two five other users flagged it again as "rude or offensive"

So before this continues in an endless back and forth, let's try to come to a consensus. What do we do with this answer? Should we delete or edit it or leave it be?

  • One concern I have: I think linking to this question under the answer may skew the voting, since in my experience users with a bone-to-pick are more likely to click through the comments to get here. – Batman Jul 9 '19 at 20:55
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    I would flag the answer as "rude or offensive" as well, but at this point in time, I don't think it would add anything. But if you keep count, add one more imaginary flag from me. – Sjoerd Jul 10 '19 at 15:28
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    @Sjoerd Posts that get enough rude/offensive flags get auto deleted, I believe. Given the moderators' refusal to delete such an obviously bad faith answer, that's why I chose to use that flag. – jpmc26 Jul 10 '19 at 22:23
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    @jpmc26 That's a convincing reason. – Sjoerd Jul 10 '19 at 22:36
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    @Sjoerd I should clarify that when I say, "chose to," I'm referring to the fact I'm normally averse to its use because of the stiff reputation penalty that comes with it. I do think this post qualifies for that flag (as my answer should make clear), or I still wouldn't have used it. But some moderators' opposition to deleting it is forcing my hand on using it rather than a less severe flag. – jpmc26 Jul 10 '19 at 23:35
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    @Philipp Has SO staff been involved in this yet? – jpmc26 Jul 11 '19 at 15:53
  • @jpmc26 Not to my knowledge. – Philipp Jul 12 '19 at 10:51
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    When will the resolution of this conflict be implemented? – Sjoerd Jul 12 '19 at 18:53
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    @Sjoerd What resolution? The tonus of the answers below seems to be "It has problems, but not so bad that it should be deleted". – Philipp Jul 13 '19 at 9:18
  • @Philipp Clear, ty. IMHO, it would be useful to mention that conclusion somewhere. Maybe by adding a "conclusion reached" tag or something like that? – Sjoerd Jul 13 '19 at 10:46
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    The problem is the question, not the answer. The question openly calls for conjecture on something which can never objectively be answered, and for which sources by definition don't exist (unlike say exit polls at voting time). It's a red herring to claim that answers with citations like this one carry any more weight than without, since most of the public in the US is known not to read the WaPo/NYT or watch the political channels anyway. Three-word slogans are much more catchy and memorable than ten-word ones, is equally valid conjecture. – smci Jul 20 '19 at 23:46

12 Answers 12


I think Brythan's (non-)answer put it best:

Really though, if you want the answer to this, we're the wrong place to ask.

The real problem is the question, which, by asking for the internal motivations of a broad group of people, almost guarantees that any answer will be uselessly incomplete and/or offensive to a broad group. It should be closed and possibly deleted, since it is unanswerable on this site.

The core of the question is:

So why are his supporters adopting that as a "lead" chant at rallies, and not chanting something else[?]

The answer in question is a legitimate effort to answer that question, and it has received so many upvotes (compared to many anti-Trump posts which I've seen downvoted, closed, and deleted) because it touches on a thing that is real, namely tribalism, the culture war, and the hate that some Trump supporters and opponents feel for the other side. The problem is that it paints much too wide a brush and attributes the beliefs of a group to the whole.

I don't think that even @jpmc26 would deny that some people chant these things to "own the libs", and, if you pressed them, I doubt that @pjc50 would argue that all Trump supporters think this way. But the way the question is written demands over-generalizations, and so that's what we get from the answers.

If we want to avoid issues like this, we need to deal with questions that require answerers to make sweeping claims about broad groups of people, either through editing (impossible here, since there are already many questions that would be invalidated) or through closure and (if absolutely necessary) deletion.

As for the answer, it’s a useful (as determined by the community) answer with a solid core message which is obscured by an abrasive (or offensive) tone. The preferred answer to that is editing to fix the tone while preserving the value.

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    Regarding the question, isn't it common to ask why a group of like-minded people (as they form around a political part or movement) think about something central to that group? It's certainly less general than the highest voted question on this site Why are so many Americans against Obamacare?. – JJJ Jul 10 '19 at 2:49
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    I think a lot of the questions here, even highly upvoted ones, are too broad and/or subjective to be a good fit for the Q&A format. But the top answer to that question did a good job because it summarized and explained the broad range of different positions that people might have. – divibisan Jul 10 '19 at 4:51
  • That's just extra work. It's pretty clear when questions are more subjective and its easy to see when there are multiple answers. Summarising them all when they're all stated below is a bit pointless, I think. And yes, some tend to be more opinion-related (not necessarily opinion-only) but that's inherent to a lot of politics. – JJJ Jul 10 '19 at 4:56
  • I think this answer equally applies to the recent controversial whaling question and we need to seriously consider if the "what do <group> think of <thing>" questions despite being many of the most popular on the stack need to be considered always off topic. – Jontia Jul 10 '19 at 7:50
  • @Jontia I agree. I'm torn, because those kinds of questions have the potential to be really illuminating and useful, but they're very hard to do right. We certainly need some hard rules to govern them, similarly to how Role-playing Games has rules for homebrew-review questions and the concept of "Good Subjective". – divibisan Jul 10 '19 at 18:30
  • The tone and the majority of the content of the answer lead me to disagree about it being a legitimate attempt to answer the question. That it touches on some genuine issues likely does account for the number of upvotes, but does not alter that analysis. And it does not change the fact that it's the wrong analysis, for even a completely correct answer can be conveyed rudely and / or abusively, and the earnestness or correctness of such an answer ought not to shield it from corrective editing or deletion. – John Bollinger Jul 10 '19 at 21:55
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    @JohnBollinger The answer is not politically correct or backed by citations, but it does pose a clear answer to the question: that these chants are symbolic statements of support for Trump and his side in the culture war going on in the US. You may disagree with it, but it's a clear answer and one that many people find to be a useful one. Saying that "it does not attempt to answer the question" is just not a tenable position. – divibisan Jul 10 '19 at 22:31
  • @JohnBollinger I also think that your "is the post subject to being interpreted as rude or abusive by a reasonable person?" standard is a dangerous one. This is the real world and sometimes people do stupid, irrational, hateful, or dangerous things. If we can't write answers that offend or make people uncomfortable, how can we legitimately deal with politics here? There have been many questions and answers here that have offended me, some I downvoted, others I found insightful and upvoted, but I don't expect them to be deleted unless they really didn't attempt to answer the question. – divibisan Jul 10 '19 at 22:37
  • @divibisan, whether the post presents an answer to the question is not the issue (but for the record, I stipulate that it does). It has not been flagged for deletion as NAA, it has been flagged as rude or abusive, and I guarantee that I could take just about any correct, well-sourced answer to any question and make it rude and abusive without changing its correctness. The correctness or on-pointedness of the result would not justify retaining the answer in that form. – John Bollinger Jul 11 '19 at 0:18
  • @divibisan, as for a standard for what answers to consider rude or abusive, I am open to alternative suggestions, but they must account for the fact that rudeness and abusiveness are subjective. I agree that it is impractical to reject posts on account of just someone, somewhere perceiving them as rude or abusive, but it is even more impractical to set the standard at everyone perceives them as rude or abusive. And this meta indicates that it is also impractical to set it at "a mod accepts it as rude or abusive", so what do we do? – John Bollinger Jul 11 '19 at 0:30
  • @JohnBollinger In your comment above you say “... lead me to disagree about it being a legitimate attempt to answer the question”. That was the statement I was arguing against. I’m glad we agree on that point. – divibisan Jul 11 '19 at 0:31
  • @JohnBollinger I’m not sure. My belief is that if an answer is useful (as determined by the community), and the main problem with it is rudeness, then the correct solution is to edit it to preserve the value while making it less rude or offensive. I would be happy to see the answer edited to a more neutral voice (in fact, I probably should have just done that) – divibisan Jul 11 '19 at 0:36
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    I'm not sure we actually do agree, @divibisan. The answer presents an answer to the question in form, but I assert that it does not embody a "legitimate effort to answer that question". Rather, it comes across to me as an opportunistic smear, couched in the form of an answer, as opposed to a good faith effort. But inasmuch as we cannot know the author's true intent, the issue most fruitful to focus on is the perceived rudeness of the result. – John Bollinger Jul 11 '19 at 0:52

The question was "Why did people still chant “Lock her up” at Trump rallies in 2019?", and he answer appears to make an honest attempt to answer that question.

The answer does try to divine the motivations of others, but that's what this particular question is asking for. You can't really answer this question without guessing the motives of others.

It doesn't have sources, but the purpose of sources is just to give readers a reason to believe that the answer is actually valid. It's not necessarily the only way to do that, and the existence of sources doesn't always lend validation to an answer.

Since it is speculating on motivations of people other than the writer, it might offend some people, but unlike some other answers I've seen, it doesn't go out of it's way to demonize the people it's talking about.

Answers get deleted for being wildly off-topic, total gibberish, or outright offensive. This answer is none of those.

What Answers do not get deleted for is being wrong, let alone potentially wrong. Moderators are not the deciders of correctness. It's up to the users to downvote answers they feel are incorrect or low quality, and if you're frustrated by the fact that this question is so upvoted, you'll just have to live with the fact that you're not the sole decider of quality around here, and that more people disagree with you than agree.

Remember, we're not just talking about whether this is a quality answer or not. This is about whether it needs to be deleted by a moderator. I don't think it comes close to reaching that bar.

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    I did not delete the answer for being wrong. I deleted it for being offensive to Trump supporters by making insulting assumptions about their internal thought processes without providing proper proof that these assumptions are correct. – Philipp Jul 9 '19 at 16:34
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    @Philipp If the question wasn't asking what are Trump supporters' internal thought processes I might agree with that deletion. If that were the case, the question would be going out of it's way to dunk on Trump supporters. But since the question is about Trump supporters' motivations, that stuff is not out of place. – Sam I am says Reinstate Monica Jul 9 '19 at 16:43
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    "You can't really answer this question without guessing the motives of others." Then it should be closed as opinion based; that doesn't justify slander. "...it doesn't go out of it's way to demonize the people it's talking about." It accuses them of being motivated by "hatred" and of "not [being] interested in having their prejudices unconfirmed." I call that demonizing, especially in a culture where "hate speech" is used as a term of complete dismissal and is currently being used with an extremely wide definition by the far left. – jpmc26 Jul 9 '19 at 17:03
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    "But since the question is about Trump supporters' motivations, that stuff is not out of place." If you honestly think Trump is supported primarily by people with a seething, blind hatred of Clinton rather than a somewhat informed opinion about what is happening in our country, then you are prejudiced yourself. You may disagree with the opinion of people who like Trump, but that doesn't give you the right to dismiss them as wholly unreasonable. I don't like Hillary and don't really like Trump, but I would never answer a motivation question about either side with "hate" without clear evidence. – jpmc26 Jul 9 '19 at 17:06
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    Do you not see the parallel between this answer and how the media treated the Covington kid? The left is always chomping at the bit to associate anyone who rejects their identitarian politics with any form of unreasonable hatred and prejudice they can: racism, sexism, "homophobia," "transphobia," "Islamophobia" (those three being poorly thought out terms), even trying to label libertarians as Nazis. Are you not aware of that going on? Does calling Trump supporters hateful not remind you of it? Because if not, as a mod, you seriously need to become more aware of the right's concerns. – jpmc26 Jul 9 '19 at 17:37
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    @jpmc26 the answer made one reference to the 2-minutes hate from 1984. That dynamic is a known aspect of human nature. I think you're exaggerating it's importance to the answer. – Sam I am says Reinstate Monica Jul 9 '19 at 18:07
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    @SamIam I count 4 instances of forms of "hate" in the answer, 3 of them being completely separate from the initial link. There's also an instance of "prejudices." It asserts Trump wants to preserve the "purity of hating her." It's the foundation of the answer. It's the main point and the most repeated concept. You remove assertions of hate and prejudice, and there's no answer left. There is no way you can ignore that and claim to be objective here. – jpmc26 Jul 9 '19 at 18:14
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    Actually, I find it hard to believe that the answer makes an honest attempt to answer the question. It does respond to the question, but is the response a genuine attempt to analyze and convey the motivations of the "Lock her up!" chanters? I can't be sure, of course, but neither the tone nor the content of the post conveys that impression to me. – John Bollinger Jul 10 '19 at 21:15

I'm not a fan of trump by any stretch of the imagination, and haven't interacted with the answer in any way, but it feels like it'd be off topic or at least completly unsubstantiated in the way it's presented.

People loved chanting "lock her up".

Plausible, but purely opinion

In some sense, that's why no effort has been made - actually locking up Clinton, or trying to, would detract from the purity of hating her and everything she represents.

Possible explaination why no charges have been filed, but again opinion and unsubstantiated. Another answer refutes this directly with sources.

That's how the culture war operates. It's entirely symbolic. People who have bought into it fundamentally aren't interested in the underlying messy reality. After all, Clinton hasn't done anything personally to them. She hasn't even been responsible for any particular policy the hatred rallies around. What they hate is what Clinton represents.

Pure opinion and assuming bad faith in a whole lot of people. Not sure it'd raise to the level of being red flag deletable, but it sure looks like the only points it has to offer are political commentary on trump and his supporters without any sources to back it or its assertions up.

Given that this site is striving to be a space for objective questions and answers, and not a place to simply viciously slag off the other side or advance your own, as stated in the help center, I think this answer is probably better off gone.

Specifically relevant passage here:

If your question (or answer!) is subjective, opinionated, or just not about one of these three things, we humbly suggest you look elsewhere for an answer to your query.

(Source: Help Center - On topic - Emphasis mine)

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    I think it can be safely assumed that as a group a sufficient number of people enjoyed chanting "Lock Her Up". Otherwise they wouldn't be doing it. The rest of this answer seems fine though. That said, the whole question is impossible to answer without polling data, dealing as it does with the thoughts of large numbers of disparate people. Even the answer with sources focuses on whether anything was done by Trump, when the question was about why are crowds chanting it again. – Jontia Jul 9 '19 at 9:39
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    @Jontia People do lots of things they don't enjoy because they think it's important. You think people like taking their garbage out every night or scrubbing their bathrooms? Most people don't, but they do it because they like the idea of dealing with rotting garbage or breathing mold even less. People doing something in no way constitutes evidence they like doing it; that is a logical fallacy. It's equally plausible that they think it's necessary to encourage legal action against corruption, even if you believe they are misguided about whether she is corrupt or not. – jpmc26 Jul 9 '19 at 12:04

We have to treat it exactly the same way as we treat other unsourced answers.

Up until now, the response users are supposed to take is downvote if they feel it's not useful, but don't delete it for lack of sources (and attempts to abuse a flag to delete it should be declined).

So your stated reason for deletion doesn't fly with existing policy.

Without any reliable sources that this is indeed the motivation of Trump's supporters, this really just seems like speculation at best and an attempt to make them look bad at worst.

(We typically don't assume the bad-faith interpretation, it does appear to be a serious attempt at an answer, and does try to defend the viewpoint (meta on good-faith). Some may disagree with the claims, but they are specific claims, and not meaningless insults.)

Maybe that means the citations-aren't-required policy of the past is no longer viewed as sustainable? If so, that's a separate question, and we shouldn't single this answer out individually. It's hardly the only answer like it on this site. While many similar examples have been automatically deleted by the cleanup script because the whole Q&A was poorly received, it's not hard to find similar if-not much-worse examples:

  • exhibit a
    • Attack on an ideology ("extremists", "utopian", "always torpedoes common sense legislation", "mind-independent")
    • Attack on media/reporters ("lame-stream media", "ideological propaganda")
    • Citations: 0
  • exhibit b
    • Bigoted (nationalist or racist) comment on incoming migrants being ignorant
    • Also claims that members of a political party also think so and want to take advantage
    • Citations: 0
  • exhibit c
    • Claims certain people are only interested in "group identity, power, social outcomes, and feelings"
    • Citations only for a few closing sentences, not the problem claims
  • exhibit d
    • Claims a political party is just trying to cause problems
    • Citations: 0
    • (Now deleted by regular votes (3rd vote moderator), no message indicating flags)
  • exhibit e
    • Back-handed comment about a past president
    • Citations: 0
    • (Now deleted by moderator, no message indicating flags)
  • exhibit f
    • Claims of fraud from a political party
    • Claims people who don't have certain government ID's must be "too dumb" and claims members of a political party believe that too
    • Ableist comments
    • Citations: 2 which are not relevant to the problem claims
  • exhibit g
    • Accusations of reporters/media being propaganda
    • Accusations of reporters/media coordinated in some conspiracy
    • Citations: 0

People might try to cry bias in cases like these, but that's why we have to do it by-the-book.

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    See also the FAQ on good faith: politics.meta.stackexchange.com/a/3044/8223 – jpmc26 Jul 9 '19 at 21:30
  • @jpmc26 Good source, I'll add it! – Batman Jul 9 '19 at 21:31
  • Lots and lots of comments deleted. Please note that comments on the meta-site is not a platform for your personal quarrels. The code of conduct which applies on the main site also applies here. Please keep your comments relevant to this answer and don't descend into personal attacks. – Philipp Jul 12 '19 at 9:35
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    a and b have been deleted. I disagree with your evaluation of c. It says, "In short, there is a progressive view, which views everything through group identity, power, social outcomes, and feelings." While that might be overly simplistic and might be best reworded to better reflect the self perception of those who hold such views, it is a well known fact that there is a mindset which emphasizes those concepts over individualism and that the proponents of these views do actually define racism differently. It's also only the one sentence; only a minor edit is needed to address any problems. – jpmc26 Aug 16 '19 at 3:53
  • f has been edited some, but it does still have problems. Unlike the answer in question here, it does cite a relevant statistic, a relevant quote, a discrepency in arguments against the policy, and shares a personal experience that contributed to their view. I also fundamentally disagree that sharing a personal experience involving the mentally handicapped possibly being exploited represents an "ableist comment." Whatever its problems, it clearly attempts to mount some support. The answer here provides no evidence or logical argumentation for its assertions of purely irrational hatred. – jpmc26 Aug 16 '19 at 4:01
  • I flagged g myself and agree it should be deleted for being as probelmatic as this answer. Moderators declined my flags, though, despite deleting several of the others based on my flags. I'm not clear on their reasons for declining; you'd have to post a seperate Meta question asking why. At least, though, that answer is heavily downvoted. This one is so heavily upvoted that it's the topped ranked answer, giving it an appearance of legitimacy that g does not have. In principle, that doesn't matter, of course, but it may affect how much effort we should spend trying to correct the situation. – jpmc26 Aug 16 '19 at 4:02

The only one problem with that answer, if anything, is that it may be difficult to understand to people who are chanting "lock her up".

The entire answer is not against Trump supporter, the answer is about human behaviour: you could swap subjects, nation, topic, and it would still apply. So, unless someone is a complete fanatic and too blind and obtuse to understand that some Trump supporters still behave like humans, that answer is perfectly on spot and deserves its 40 upvotes.

It can and maybe should, anyway, be rewritten to be a little more neutral.

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    There is no neutral way to call your opponents irrational, brainwashed people driven purely by hate unless they explicitly state those beliefs themselves. – jpmc26 Jul 9 '19 at 11:55
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    I get where you're coming from, but the answer is little more then hurling insults. I get that the group it hurls insults at could be swapped without too much hassle, but it's still not a good or acceptable answer imo. We're supposed to be better then flinging mud blindly, especially on a site that proclaims itself to deal in rational analysis of the political system. I'm not a trump supporter btw and have never been to or chanted at any rally, so the first paragraph does not apply to me, and to me the answer still reads needlessly unkind. – magisch Jul 9 '19 at 12:10
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    Guys I'm sorry, but if you believe you can discuss politics without accepting the irrationality of human brain and the basic of human psycology, then you are completely off track. Groups hurls insults because it's a basic, standard, group behaviour. Unicorns farting rainbows are a nice idea, but everyday reality is that humans are mostly nothing more than little evolved animals. – motoDrizzt Jul 9 '19 at 12:28
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    @motoDrizzt The biggest problem with that statement is that there are entirely rational explanations for why someone would believe Hillary should be in jail. – jpmc26 Jul 9 '19 at 12:42
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    @jpmc26: you mean, entirely rational explanations that you kindly posted in an answer that has been found useful and repedeatly upvoted from the community because it's a good answer? – motoDrizzt Jul 9 '19 at 13:20
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    @motoDrizzt Entirely rational explanations that anyone knowing what info the FBI has released about the e-mail case would know. See this answer and my comment, which cites the center-left-at-best FactCheck.org, on it. Also, the community is clearly biased as evidenced by their voting on the answer in question, so no, I wouldn't expect it to be highly upvoted. – jpmc26 Jul 9 '19 at 13:50
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    However, are there "entirely rational reasons" why crowds of people would chant that at a rally, @jpmc26? Particularly a rally which is ostensibly on a different topic? That's the question here. – TRiG Jul 12 '19 at 15:05

I think the answer is just a cheap shot at Trump supporters intended to make them look bad.

A US president's supporters typically do not fret much over their hero's defeated rivals. Usually they couldn't be less interested, to the point where the rivals' names are forgotten. "Whatever happened to...?" is more the norm. But three years after, Trump supporters have a need for ritually chanting down a defeated rival.

For a serving US President to spare a second of public attention for, let alone harp on, a defeated rival years after that defeat is extraordinary, no matter what the rival did or was suspected of doing. Obama didn't abuse McCain after his defeat. Bush didn't insult Gore after his loss. Carter didn't publicly obsess about Ford. Nixon didn't talk much about Humphrey. And so on, no other President has publicly behaved in this way.

Crowds that shout repetitive chants about punishments generally are expressing, at the very least, an enthusiastic disapproval of the purported crimes to be punished, and by extension a disapproval of the supposed perpetrator of said crimes. When this degree of disapproval is intense, that fits the definition for hate. It's not love...

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    Obama's supporters blamed Bush for years. Maybe you should add that to the list of examples? – Sjoerd Jul 11 '19 at 22:04
  • @Sjoerd Did they chant lock-him-up or similar? – AquaticFire Jul 11 '19 at 22:06
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    @AquaticFire They certainly did "fret much over their hero's defeated rivals," so this behavior fits the description in the first paragraph. – Sjoerd Jul 11 '19 at 22:09
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    Lots and lots of comments deleted. Please note that comments on the meta-site is not a platform for your personal quarrels. The code of conduct which applies on the main site also applies here. Please keep your comments relevant to this answer and don't descend into personal attacks. – Philipp Jul 12 '19 at 9:35
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    @Sjoerd, True, but there are substantial differences. Obama supporters didn't chant. More importantly: Bush was an influential two-term president; all presidents may without undue rancor be reasonably held accountable for their tenure's notable hits and misses. But Mrs. Clinton was not a President, and hadn't held office since 2013, three years before losing to Trump. And SFAIK, no acting President has, until now, publicly expressed resentment toward any former Secretaries of State. – agc Jul 12 '19 at 16:37

If this isn't a clear violation of "welcoming," then we should drop the Code of Conduct right now. It's just unsupported besmirching of a group of people's character.

In some sense, that's why no effort has been made - actually locking up Clinton, or trying to, would detract from the purity of hating her and everything she represents.

Obviously false. The entire notion of locking her up comes from believing she's guilty of a major crime and has no business being involved in politics because of her corruption. Even if those beliefs are false, that's obviously not some kind of irrational unbridled hatred of her or her ideas. It's a desire to see, in their opinion, justice done.

They're watching a different set of news channels, pundits, and talk radio to you. They're not interested in having their prejudices unconfirmed.

Even an actual Democratic 2020 Presidential Candidate disagrees with this. It clearly needs sources. Even with them, "They're not interested in having their prejudices unconfirmed," is a blatant put down.

It's entirely symbolic. People who have bought into it fundamentally aren't interested in the underlying messy reality.

Again, another put down.

What they hate is what Clinton represents.

A repeated claim of blind hatred, obviously another put down.

And let's not forget that the opening link implies that they're brainwashed using a 1984 reference.

In other words, the thrust of this answer is that the chanters are irrational, brainwashed people driven purely by hatred. I'm sure I could spend 10 more paragraphs diving into the deep details of how nearly every line of this answer is a Code of Conduct violation, but it should be obvious that this answer is written to be an insult based on the author's personal disdain, not share information about a perspective they disagree with.

If this isn't a Code of Conduct violation, then the CoC is clearly politically biased.

The fact that this is even a question supports the presence of bias in the moderator team. And yes, I'm outraged and indignant over the fact any mod would undelete it.

I'm also equally disturbed that such an answer has garnered so many upvotes.

How am I supposed to have faith in this site to be anything remotely approaching objective or fair with the user base and moderators behaving in a manner so opposed to explicit site policy simply because they like the opinion it expresses?

  • If this isn't a Code of Conduct violation, then the CoC is clearly politically biased. Stack Exchange is a progressive company, the code of conduct is designed to lead to a more equitable and friendly network, and the tech sector (that this site and the whole of the network draws a lot of its users from) is a exceptionally progressive industry. While this site and the mods in general here strive to be as neutral as possible, there can be no mistake that this is not a neutral network. The evidence for that is everywhere and it's never been a secret. Make of that what you will. – magisch Jul 9 '19 at 12:14
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    Voting patterns will always sway progressive across the network, to conduct an analysis of it yourself, you don't need to look any further then this or skeptics or TWP or almost anywhere. – magisch Jul 9 '19 at 12:15
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    @Magisch I'm fully aware. I also make particular note that policies seem to be crafted to attempt to avoid overtly targeting particular ideologies to provide a semblance of neutrality. This means they can be applied in the direction opposite of the opinions they espouse. As a result, I demand they either actually enforce them in a neutral manner (roughly speaking, at least) or openly and explicitly admit they're targeting these ideologies. In other words, I won't tolerate hypocrisy, hidden motives, or double standards. But thanks for letting me know. – jpmc26 Jul 9 '19 at 12:30
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    @Magisch As for users, I don't know. They can at least set expectations and try to promote a decent example. Something this bad should certainly have the hammer dropped on it immediately, and I would say the same about something that treated the other side of the aisle this way. – jpmc26 Jul 9 '19 at 12:46
  • This answer has the same fundamental problem as the other answer: no sources to back it up. What if the other answer is actually entirely accurate? It does present some evidence and reasoning for the specific claims, and those claims aren't just meaningless insults. You don't have to agree with that evidence, but that's what votes are for. Just because it's not the way certain people would like to be thought-of/remembered doesn't mean it's not an accurate depiction. – Batman Jul 9 '19 at 19:57
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    @AlexanderO'Mara Common knowledge doesn't require citation. My references to the CoC's language are readily recognizable if you're even remotely familiar with the topic. Furthermore, the answer almost certainly isn't accurate for the vast majority of people chanting. Finding a rational explanation for their belief is trivial, as can be seen by other answers. – jpmc26 Jul 9 '19 at 20:55
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    "The entire notion of locking her up comes from believing she's guilty of a major crime and has no business being involved in politics because of her corruption." Is this still referring to the email server? Because he was a lot more forgiving when his own adviser did the same: 'Donald Trump has doubled down on his claim that his daughter Ivanka’s use of private email in her government role was “very innocent”.' – JJJ Jul 10 '19 at 2:57
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    @JJJ I make no guarantees about the personal consistency or validity of any Trump opinions. =) The question is about why his supporters chanted about sending Hillary to jail, and I'm only providing a more rational, good faith, and likely explanation for that than, "OMG HATERZ!!!!" – jpmc26 Jul 10 '19 at 3:00
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    That's not what the answer says though. It argues that many Trump supporters live in a bubble (and you could argue that for almost anyone, different bubbles of course) in which the lock her up notion is still being repeated. As such, it still comes up sometimes, which the question asked the reason for. – JJJ Jul 10 '19 at 3:07
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    Lots and lots of comments deleted. Please note that comments on the meta-site is not a platform for your personal quarrels. The code of conduct which applies on the main site also applies here. Please keep your comments relevant to this answer and don't descend into personal attacks. – Philipp Jul 12 '19 at 9:03

Magisch mentions the following line in their answer arguing it's not a good fit as it would be purely opinion based:

If your question (or answer!) is subjective, opinionated, or just not about one of these three things, we humbly suggest you look elsewhere for an answer to your query.

I disagree with that because part of the answer, namely this part:

I put it to you that they can't, don't or won't. They're watching a different set of news channels, pundits, and talk radio to you. They're not interested in having their prejudices unconfirmed.

It consists of two parts that help understand why the chant is still a thing:

  1. There's a bubble, quoting QZ:

    Technology such as social media “lets you go off with like-minded people, so you’re not mixing and sharing and understanding other points of view,” said Bill Gates in a recent interview with Quartz. “It’s super important. It’s turned out to be more of a problem than I, or many others, would have expected.” https://qz.com/913114/bill-gates-says-filter-bubbles-are-a-serious-problem-with-news/

    This can be substantiated by providing a source, for example a survey of Trump supporters. In comments under the answer, I have provided such a source.

  2. Then there is the notion that inside the bubble, talk of the chant continues disproportionately compared to outside the bubble. I have no source for this, but this can be substantiated easily by providing examples of the chant being mentioned inside that "different set of news channels, pundits, and talk radio", assuming that those statements are regularly made there.

So before this continues in an endless back and forth, let's try to come to a consensus. What do we do with this answer? Should we delete or edit it or leave it be?

A few things:

  1. Add the we're looking for credible answers that draw from sources notice.

  2. Remove parts that are offensive, if there are any. If it's not clear which parts they are, decline flags with a custom reason asking them to raise a custom flag specifically stating which part is offensive. Ask the community which parts are offensive.

    I would further defend the paragraph before last of the answer that it doesn't generalise all Trump supporters as it states "People who have bought into it [the idea of locking up Hilary Clinton]".

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    The answer is fundamentally not saying that the problem is echo chambers re-emphasizing this issue. That would require a much more lengthy discussion and sources showing that 1. these echo chambers exist, and 2. these echo chambers are publishing material that is inspiring people to think about Hillary being arrested. The remark in question is instead a passing remark asserting that the individuals are fundamentally closed minded and unwilling or unable to have "their prejudices unconfirmed." As worded, it's a direct attack on their character and maybe their intellectual ability. – jpmc26 Jul 10 '19 at 3:46
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    Instead, the answer's assertion is that this desire is rooted purely in hatred (with some form of the word repeated 4 times in the answer). That's an important distinction because then trying to make the answer about that would fundamentally conflict with the author's intent, and those kinds of edits are forbidden. An answer asserting what you're discussing would be entirely reasonable and could easily be made without denigrating the chanters and could be sourced, but it's a wholly different statement than this answer. – jpmc26 Jul 10 '19 at 3:46
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    To put it in other words: your point is not one the answer spends very many words on, and the words it does kind of, sort of indirectly spend on it are intentionally one of the most inflammatory and insulting portions of the answer. As such, it would be better to just delete this answer. You have demonstrated that you could very well post this idea in your own words in a much more reasonable tone, and in such a form, it would be a valuable contribution to the issue. – jpmc26 Jul 10 '19 at 3:57
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    @jpmc26 well I think that's what the answer tries to convey, maybe a bit more bluntly put like you say. I'll wait to see what happens first. Should the other answer be deleted and should my suggestion be reasonable then I might post it. But I want to give the original answerer the chance to edit it first. – JJJ Jul 10 '19 at 5:01
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    As for the echo chambers, I think it's pretty much everyone that's in them one way or another. It's not necessarily being 'fundamentally closed minded' as you put it (the answer doesn't state that, you might read that into it if you're out looking for it) but more that some (politicians and some media outlets) try to play into this. And yes, they do play into existing prejudices as Russian disinformation campaigns have done since the Cold War. See foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/FinalRR.pdf – JJJ Jul 10 '19 at 5:09
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    @jpmc26 I read that sentence as they're not interested in having someone burst their bubble: meaning. Like I said, it's blunt, but it's not wrong. Take a headline like Poll: Half of Americans say Trump is victim of a 'witch hunt' as trust in Mueller erodes. Clinton could be locked up after the chant but Trump shouldn't be investigated or it's a witch hunt. – JJJ Jul 10 '19 at 5:19
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    Obviously, that's just an example, but there are many things like that making me not question that sentence from the answer so much. And obviously, that's also because my bubble is more liberal and I may not hear as much good things about Trump as his supporters do and many more bad things that he does (or just the way it's analysed differently by pundits). – JJJ Jul 10 '19 at 5:21
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    I'm not saying that people don't get set in their beliefs. They do. But that doesn't mean we get to just dismiss those as wholly unreasonable and not coming from some information to back them up. People do get convinced of political ideas based at least partially on the information they receive. Being a political site that's intended to focus on educating each other about opinions we don't understand, just asserting they come from blind tribalism is wrong and contrary to that goal. Ideas do usually originate in some kind of thought or evidence, and our goal is to communicate those reasons. – jpmc26 Jul 10 '19 at 5:30
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    On top of that, since we can't read minds, we can't know what compels any person to believe any particular thing. So it's our job to allow people to define their own beliefs and the reasons for them. That means we have to look at how they defend those beliefs and present them, rather than tell them their own reasons are fake. That's called "good faith." And really the only way you should discard good faith is when the speaker tells you they are. – jpmc26 Jul 10 '19 at 5:34
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    @jpmc26 yes, but when blind tribalism plays a part that's fair to call out. And it's not just on the Republican's side, it's on the Democrat's side too. Indeed, the US is a very partisan country with pretty extreme to moderate people in the same party. It's very different from some multi-party systems here in Europe where people just agree on some issues and oppose others. As for informing people, I don't think calling it out is necessarily wrong. – JJJ Jul 10 '19 at 5:35
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    We could post it as an answer on every single U.S. question on this site by that logic. I'm sure tribalism exists in Europe, too, though. It just takes some other form. How about national identity? The U.S. is closer in size and diversity to all of the E.U. than it is to any individual country. – jpmc26 Jul 10 '19 at 5:36
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    @jpmc26 and in many cases you can work on a good-faith basis. But sometimes there's more than that. When you're dealing with trolls (outsiders trying to meddle), working on a good-faith basis won't get you far (not talking about people here, but about some trying to influence the bubbles). See for example that Senate Intel. report. That gives an insight into how those acting in good-faith "buy into" (as the answer put it) false assertions that are fuelled by outsiders for their own geopolitical gain. – JJJ Jul 10 '19 at 5:39
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    @jpmc26 except that in this case it's a pretty good argument. Clinton is no longer relevant, it's purely a chant to give supporters what they want to hear. And why do they want to hear it? Because of partisanship. – JJJ Jul 10 '19 at 5:47
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    @JJJ You should just make those edits. They’ll make the answer better and more fair. We’re altogether to hesitant to edit posts on this site, in my opinion – divibisan Jul 11 '19 at 0:51
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    @divibisan my argument isn't complete, it still needs some research on more talk of the chant inside the bubble. That's quite a lot of work (not necessarily hard work, but time consuming if you don't know where to look) and requires going through a lot of media that isn't very enjoyable (at least not for me). If you have some good examples, I think you can edit it in yourself. – JJJ Jul 11 '19 at 1:03

At least six users -- with sufficient rep to do so -- have flagged the answer as rude or abusive. Unless we are to assume bad faith, I don't see how to avoid the conclusion that that the answer is susceptible to being taken as rude or abusive.

The nature of the medium precludes determining a majority opinion on the matter, but I don't think that's the standard we should choose anyway. Should we tolerate rudeness to a substantial subpopulation simply because a majority are not offended? The criterion really ought to be interpreted something like this: is the post subject to being interpreted as rude or abusive by a reasonable person? (Not necessarily every reasonable person.) Certainly that's still terribly subjective, but that's the nature of this particular area.

So how does the answer fare under that standard?

This sets the tone of the answer early on:

actually locking up Clinton, or trying to, would detract from the purity of hating her and everything she represents.

As far as I can tell, the answer is attributing Trump ralliers' chanting to pure hatefulness. Whereas that may not offend the question's OP, who seems uninclined to participate the kind of chants at issue, I don't see how anyone could think it would fail to offend people who do participate in such chants, or who feel a a political or ideological kinship with such people. And Trump has enough popularity that we should believe that that's a lot of people in practice.

If the answer presented a plausible basis for that assertion then perhaps a different analysis would be in order, but not only does it not do so, the question itself and various other answers present plausible alternative interpretations:

  • it's a meaningless rallying cry
  • the chanters are genuinely seeking justice for a perceived abuse of power
  • the chanters are conveying continued outrage over a perceived past abuse of power (even if they don't genuinely expect action)

A bit later the answer asserts

I put it to you that they can't, don't or won't [see that Trump seems to have no interest in or plans to investigate Clinton ...]. They're not interested in having their prejudices unconfirmed.

The most favorable way I see to spin that is as a claim that the people in question are ignorantly prejudiced, but I'm inclined to read it as a broader claim that at least some of the people are willfully or stupidly prejudiced. Any way around, this is practically bound to offend people whose political sensibilities are aligned to any significant degree with the people alleged to be prejudiced. (And I note also that in the U.S., that particular word has racial overtones and stronger negative connotations than I suspect it does in most other English-speaking countries.)

The next bit of the answer returns to attributing the chanting to hatefulness, and then it wraps up with

That's why they don't care about "outcomes". Offending liberals is the desired outcome.

That's one of the milder assertions in the answer, actually, but its still a claim that a large group of people is deliberately being offensive. How ironic. Here, again, the analysis might be different if there were a plausible basis for that assertion, or if it seemed reasonable on its face, but no basis is presented, and I, for one, do not find it plausible that offending liberals is the objective of many of the people involved. Again, a person could reasonably find this offensive.

Overall analysis: from beginning to end, top to bottom, the answer chock full of assertions and arguments that reasonable people could find offensive. The whole underlying thesis seems to be that a group of people are irrationally hateful and intentionally offensive. That seems unlikely to be categorically true, and as a flat assertion, standing next to plausible alternative interpretations, it is wide open to being interpreted as a plain and simple smear. Even if it reflects its author's or others' genuine opinion, the answer should be deleted.

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    People actually flagged this post as rude/abusive, so I really don't think we can ignore the reality that people are using these flags to advance their political agenda. – Batman Jul 10 '19 at 20:00
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    @AlexanderO'Mara, I do not doubt that flags are sometimes cast in bad faith, but the more flags are cast, the less plausible it is that all are cast in bad faith. In any event, I have presented abundant reason apart from the flags to believe that the answer being discussed will be offensive to some people. – John Bollinger Jul 10 '19 at 20:13
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    If the number of flags has an impact on the action taken, then bad-faith actors will be emboldened to cast more flags more-often. I also don't think the bar should be "offensive to some people" so much as "reasonably offensive to reasonable people". – Batman Jul 10 '19 at 20:18
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    @AlexanderO'Mara, agreed, "offensive to some people" is not an appropriate bar, and in fact it's not the one that I present in the answer. But I also don't think "[reasonably] offensive to reasonable people" is right if it supposes that all reasonable people will be offended by the same things. I really don't see the answer in question as anywhere near a gray area. It makes an unsupported allegation of irrational hatefulness and intentional offensiveness against thousands of people. I soft-pedaled a bit here, but I find the answer offensive. – John Bollinger Jul 10 '19 at 20:25
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    Lots and lots of comments deleted. Please note that comments on the meta-site is not a platform for your personal quarrels. The code of conduct which applies on the main site also applies here. Please keep your comments relevant to this answer and don't descend into personal attacks. – Philipp Jul 12 '19 at 9:35
  • This apologia's list of possible protest motives includes "perceived" abuses, but it either neglects to weigh the possibility of hypothetical and imaginary abuses, or else it conflates these three things. – agc Aug 25 '19 at 12:05

It's been over a month. Several answers here advocate for editing out the offensive content in order to salvage some other content. (I'm not convinced there is sufficient content to form an answer if you do so, but they clearly disagree.) However, no one has submitted such an edit. If it cannot be edited despite such flagrant violations of the Code of Conduct and long established policy, then the answer should be deleted.

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    One unfortunately has to conclude that the moderators' biases , telegraphed repeatedly, reinforced through deletions and bans, is what this site is about. – user9790 Sep 15 '19 at 10:53

In my opinion it should stay, but edited.

I put it to you that they can't, don't or won't. They're watching a different set of news channels, pundits, and talk radio to you. They're not interested in having their prejudices unconfirmed

Because this

  1. does not apply to all Trump supporters,
  2. does apply to many people, regardless of their opinions and ideals,
  3. and is definitly opinion-based.

Same for the following part. But yeah, looking at the sites culture, it should stay.

(I wrote answers with such problems, too, some might know, also that's why I stopped.)

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    I thought they were talking about the chanters, not all Trump supporters. – AquaticFire Jul 11 '19 at 22:05
  • @AquaticFire The chanters are most likely a random subset. – jpmc26 Jul 11 '19 at 23:17
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    Right, the subset which the answer talks about. The claim isn't about all Trump supporters. – AquaticFire Jul 11 '19 at 23:21
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    What I was implying is that there's no particularly distinguishing features between the chanters and Trump supporters in general. As a result, there's no way for others to depersonalize it. Even that aside, an accusation doesn't have to apply to all Trump supporters to be a problem. – jpmc26 Jul 12 '19 at 9:46
  • my point is that such claims or word-choices lead to the controversity this discussion is all about. – miep Jul 12 '19 at 10:58
  • @miep I'm a little confused. Your answer says that the answer in question should "stay," implying it should be left alone. But some of the other things you write, like that you stopped writing answers with these sorts of problems and that they lead to controversy, which suggest you disapprove of it. It would help if you could clarify. – jpmc26 Jul 12 '19 at 15:26
  • My call was to not delete the answer, but edit it a bit, because the way it's written can and will offend people. I personally stopped answering as I'm not good in writing good, neutral answers to most topics I'm intrested in. – miep Jul 12 '19 at 15:38
  • 6 of my 10 answers I've given so far a more or less opinion-based. The answer discussed here sounds this way to me, too. – miep Jul 12 '19 at 15:42

Here's a good test. Would you have tolerated an answer that basically described HRC getting the business at a Trump event as hilarious, and that she's entirely risible and easily and deservedly mocked? Because that's much closer to the truth and I doubt it very seriously such an answer would have remained on this site for minutes.

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